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Persimmons look somewhat like a cross between an orange and a tomato. There are varieties native to North America which were consumed by American natives, but only until after the first frost, or else your mouth would pucker, they said.

Persimmons are astringent when unripe, but once maturity is reached they are similar in taste to a smooth and very sweet apricot. In Asia persimmons originally came from China and spread to Japan where they are considered the national fruit. Most persimmons growing in the U.S. come from Japanese varieties: the Fuyu is small and sweet and should be eaten while firm, this variety is the highest in vitamin C . The Hachiya is bigger and should be consumed when very ripe and soft. Persimmons are very high in potassium and very low in calories. Recent studies show they might also have fat-burning properties.

Persimmons can be eaten fresh or cooked in jams, jellies, preserves, cakes, breads, mashed in puddings or sorbets or in sweet and sour dishes. In Korea there?s a popular persimmon punch prepared specially for New Year celebrations.

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